Weekend Update: On March 13, SFR straddled the proverbial aisle: One reporter skulked around the casino at Buffalo Thunder, searching in vain for Gov. Bill Richardson at the Democratic pre-primary convention.
The other, at the Republican convention, gazed longingly at the Albuquerque Hilton’s unused pool and listened to anti-government speeches by people running for…government.
“There’s enough red tape in our state to make the red tape blush!” Matt Rush, the GOP’s frontrunner for state land commissioner, told the enthusiastic crowd.
Jon Barela, the unopposed nominee for Congressional District 1, promised to shrink government and get rid of political appointees. JR Damron’s wife Barbara praised her husband’s ability to “tell truth to power”—which Damron, with the lowest number of votes for the lieutenant governor nomination, will probably still be able to do.
“This could be a Republican year,” former Corrales Mayor Gary Kanin mused from a stool at the hotel bar.
“Oh, it is,” turquoise-clad Tularosa delegate Melissa Mackechnie asserted, finishing a gin and tonic. “People are so tired of the horrible direction we’ve gone in. People are just sickened and astounded.”
Trading Shots: “What a saga, huh?” Diane Garrity, the attorney for New Mexico Department of Health employee Diane Moore, says. She’s on the phone, rifling through what sounds like a forest’s worth of paper.
Moore, a business operations specialist, says she was involuntarily transferred from one DOH division to another after she complained about the department’s hiring and financial practices.
More than two months have passed, and Moore is still trying to get her job back.
“The Department of Health has been pretty vague [about] the reasons for the transfer,” Garrity tells SFR. “We want an explanation.”
They also want the DOH to follow up on some other things. In December, five of Moore’s former coworkers filed grievances against her, accusing Moore of “violence in the workplace” and requesting she be transferred to another division. Moore was given a strict deadline to respond—but since she did, she hasn’t heard a peep.
Also, “It’s intimated in correspondence [from the DOH] that there was some kind of safety issue involving [Moore],” Garrity says. “We would like to know what that safety issue is.”
On March 11, Moore filed her own grievance against the DOH; Garrity says the department has 10 calendar days to respond.
“We consider grievances a confidential matter, so I can’t verify that we have one or comment,” DOH spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer tells SFR.